Card. Castrillon responds to some questions about Summorum Pontificum

A kind reader alerted me to a interesting set of responses from His Eminence Dario Card. Castrillon Hoyos to questions about Benedict XVI’s Summorum Pontificum.   The Q&A is, interestingly enough, posted on clerus.va, the website of the Congregation for Clergy.  Under Card. Castrillon, Clergy developed their own web presence, apart from the Vatican’s efforts to stall the Church’s proper use of the internet.  But I digress…

The tireless crew over at NLM has declared that they are working on a translation of the whole thing, but here is the first part, which is the most interesting.  The original is in Italian:

Responses of the Cardinal President of the Pontifical Commission "Ecclesia Dei" to certain queries

From the Pontifical Commission "Ecclesia Dei" began to receive frequent questions about the reasons for the Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum, some of which were grounded in the prescriptions of the 3 October 1984 document Quattuor abhinc annos sent by the Congregation for Divine Worship to presidents of bishops conferences, the President of the same Commission, His Eminence Dario Card. Castrillon Hoyos considered it opprtune to give the following responses:

QUESTION: Is it licit to make reference to the Letter Quattuor abhinc annos in order to regulate questions pertaining to the celebration of the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite, namely, according to the Roman Missal  of 1962?

ANSWER: Obviously, no.  Because with the publication of the Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum the prescriptions for the use of the 1962 Missal emanating from Quattuor abhinc annos, and successively from the Motu Proprio of the Servant of God John Paul II Ecclesia Dei adflicta, have lapsed. 

In fact, the same Summorum Pontificum, beginning with article 1, explicitly affirms that: "the conditions for the use of the Missal established by the previous documents Quattuor abhinc annos and Ecclesia Dei adflicta have been replaced".  The Motu Proprio enumerates the new conditions.

Thus, one cannot make reference to the restrictions for celebration with the 1962 Missal established by those two documents.

QUESTION:  What are the substantive differences between the last Motu Proprio and the two preceding documents pertaining to this matter?

ANSWER: The first substantial difference is certainly that now it is licit to celebrate Holy Mass according to the Extraordinary Rite without any longer the need for special permission, called an "indult".  The Holy Father Benedict XVI established, once and for tall, that the Roman Rite consists of two Forms, to which he desired to give the name of "Ordinary Form" (the celebration of the Novus Ordo, according to the 1970 Missal of Paul VI) and the "Extraordinary Form" (the celebration of the Gregorian Rite, according to the 1962 Missal of Bl. John XXIII) and he confirmed that this 1962 Missal was never abrogated.  Another difference is that in the Mass celebrated without people, every Catholic priest of the Latin Rite, whether secular or religious, can use one or the other Missal (article 2).  Moreover, in Masses without people or with people, it pertains to the pastor [parish priest] or the rector of the church where one intends to celebrate, to give the permission for all priests who present a "celebret" given by their own Ordinary.  If these (pastors) should deny permission, the bishop, according to the norm of the Motu Proprio, must provide that the permission be conceded. (cf. art. 7).

That is the first part.  After this, there is an exploration of the work of the Commission of Cardinals in 1986.   I don’t see any purpose in reduplicating the work being done over at NLM, so I will leave that to them.

However, there are interesting things to consider in the responses above.

First, I have heard from time to time how, incredibly, critics of Summorum Pontificum have in fact tried to quote Quattuor abhinc annos and Ecclesia Dei adflicta against Pope Benedict’s prescriptions. 

Second, directly in the face of those who are still claiming that the 1962MR reallywas abrogated, the Cardinal President is reminding everybody that, no, it really WASN’T.

Third, notice that the second response refers not only to the regulation of the use of the older form by pastors of churches, but also rectors.  It is not stated explicitly in Summorum Pontificum that rectors also have this right, though it is reasonable to assume they do.  So, are we glimpsing something of the now infamous clarification document that we have been waiting for for so long? 

Fourth, notice what impact that second response would have on, say, a shrine a priest is visiting.  

During my recent trip to Emmitsburg, where the Shrine of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton is located, I was told that to this day priests have been refused the right to say Mass with the 1962 Missale Romanum.   There is even a sign to that effect in the sacristy at the Shrine.  So… if a priest wanted to say Mass there, a reasonable request, the bishop would have to be informed that an obstacle was placed in the priest’s path.   This would have to apply to pilgrimage places as well, such as Fatima, Altotting or Lourdes.

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22 Responses to Card. Castrillon responds to some questions about Summorum Pontificum

  1. chironomo says:

    A while back, someone on this site (I think it was Fr.Z!) noted that with the promulgation of Summorum Pontificum, Bishops suddenly began wanting to implement Ecclesia Dei Afflicta…it’s incredible how they suddenly have so much interest in quoting a document that they were previously trying to suppress! In light of that, perhaps the best way to implement SP would be to mandate a TOTAL return to the EF… hmm?

  2. dcs says:

    Third, notice that the second response refers not only to the regulation of the use of the older form by pastors of churches, but also rectors. It is not stated explicitly in Summorum Pontificum that rectors also have this right, though it is reasonable to assume they do.

    It is in Art 5.5: “In churches that are not parish or conventual churches, it is the duty of the Rector of the church to grant the above permission.”

  3. It cannot be repeated too often that the era of the “Indult” Mass is over. That has been established in law by Summorum Pontificum. Therefore, the former restrictions on the celebration of the “old” Mass do not apply. However, we must not forget, or lose sight of, the fact that the old “indult” mentality is with us yet. If necessary, people must be told, as nicely as possible, look, no Indult is necessary, and the Pope has said so.

  4. Alessandro says:

    “…This would have to apply to pilgrimage places as well, such as Fatima, Altotting or Lourdes.”

    and the Pontifical International Basilica of St Anhtony in Padua, where there are no signs in the sacristy, but unfortunately it is in the hands of “Piero Marini minded” litugical governance….

  5. RichR says:

    Fr Z (or anyone),

    I’m trying to sort out the meaning of the last few sentences.

    Aren’t “celebrets” obsolete now? Isn’t SP, in essence, a universal celebret? Who would be presenting a celebret to say a EFM and use it as a means of justification? Every priest has this right.

    Also, does this statement by H.E. Hoyos say that a pastor/rector does or does not have the right to forbid a EFM? I don’t read “legal-ese” very well. At first it seems to say that it pertains to him to decide, but then it says that if he denies permission, the Ordinary must intervene to make him concede?

    I’m confused.

  6. dcs says:

    Aren’t “celebrets” obsolete now? Isn’t SP, in essence, a universal celebret? Who would be presenting a celebret to say a EFM and use it as a means of justification? Every priest has this right.

    I think Card. Castrillon is saying that if a priest has a celebret from his Ordinary, he cannot be refused to his right to celebrate the old Mass anywhere. Any other priest would be at the mercy of the pastor or rector of the Church. No, a priest does not need a celebret to celebrate the old Mass, but without the celebret he would depend on the pastor or rector of the church in which he wants to celebrate.

  7. John says:

    A celebret is sort of an identification card that states that a traveling priest is in good standing in his diocese or religious community and requesting that he be welcomed and permitted to celebrate Mass. It would be necessary (though some places, in my experience, don’t ask for them) for celebration of either form of the Mass. It is an assurance to the place being visited that the person is a priest who has the right to celebrate Mass. So, it’s not made irrelevant by SP.

  8. QC says:

    I’m not sure if this is a good place to ask this question, but what does it mean that the 1962 Missal was “never abrogated.” I have always taken this to mean that it was never completely done away with. While it was greatly restricted, it was always licitly celebrated at least someplace.

    That being said, some people have said that “never abrogated” means that the restrictions placed on it by Popes, bishops, etc. were all illegal and invalid. This doesn’t seem to make a whole lot of sense–I don’t see Popes John Paul II or Benedict XVI (who declared it never abrogated) saying their predecesors were doing something illegal, but I of course could be wrong.

    What is the right interpretation?

  9. PMcGrath says:

    Rich: A celebret is a document from an Ordinary or Superior stating that the priest in question has proper faculties and can offer Mass in any form, OF or EF.

    A priest under canonical suspension would not have a valid celebret and couldn’t say Mass anywhere.

    You can see Fr. Z’s celebret on his Bona Fides page.

    I’ll happily stand correction if I’ve mis-stated anything.

  10. Bryan says:

    the translation has been posted over at NLM.

  11. Does this would appear to clear the way for the use of the new collects/readings/etc. in the ancient use.

    “Thus, one cannot make reference to the restrictions for celebration with the 1962 Missal established by those two documents.”

    One of those restrictions in Quattuor Abhinc Annos was the prohibition of “interchanging of texts and rites of the two Missals”.

    We must then consider how to apply number 284 of the 1960 Code of Rubrics:

    “A priest who celebrates in a church or oratory where a different rite previals, must keep to the calendar of that church or oratory with regard to the feasts and their rank, the commemorations and the collect imperata. As to the order of the Mass, however, he should take the variable parts proper to the rite of that church and keep the ceremonies and the Ordinary of his own rite.

    Or perhaps not. Since they are not actually different rites under the current legislation, but two forms of the same right, perhaps the section of the Code is not applicable.

    (I see how to apply this to the usus antiquor and the Dominican Rite for example, any liturgical scholars want to venture a guess if this applies to non-western rites?)

  12. Does this would appear to clear the way for the use of the new collects/readings/etc. in the ancient use.

    Surely, for anyone equally familiar with both old and new Roman missals — and certainly for someone like me who attends daily OF Mass — the more apt question would be whether banal or shallow OF collects can now be replaced in new Mass celebrations by eloquent and profound EF collects.

  13. mpm says:

    The full translation at the NLM is rather interesting, if I have understood
    correctly that it represents the guidelines given by a group of Cardinals as
    a recommendation to HH Pope John Paul II. Some of the strains, or suggestions,
    of the paragraphs seem to have been dealt with (very ably) in SP by Pope Benedict
    who was one of the Cardinals involved.

    I guess it gives a sense of the direction that the Pope has in mind. One of the
    recommendations is that permission be granted (at least in the larger cities) that
    on every Sunday and Feast Day, in every parish, at least one Mass be celebrated in Latin, whichever “form” (they speak of Missals) is freely chosen.

  14. Michael J says:

    Is it then reasonable to suppose that since “the prescriptions for the use of the 1962 Missal emanating from Quattuor abhinc annos, and successively from the Motu Proprio of the Servant of God John Paul II Ecclesia Dei adflicta, have lapsed.” any decisions by the PCED addressing these prescriptions have also “lapsed” and should be re-visited? Surely, the PCED based its decisions on the law in effect at the time. Now that that law has been superceded I would think that some of those decisisions are no longer applicable.

  15. Matt Q says:

    This is where the Church comes up short. They state explicitly the Mass is permitted but all over The Tridentine Mass is denied to the faithful. In effect the Church allows this because She does nothing to stop the denial, the abuse of the rights of the Faithful.

  16. TJM says:

    Father Z, it’s interesting that you note the Shrine will not allow the celebration of a private TLM. As a practical What would they do if you started to say it?
    Disrupt the Mass? Tom

  17. “Surely, for anyone equally familiar with both old and new Roman missals—and certainly for someone like me who attends daily OF Mass—the more apt question would be whether banal or shallow OF collects can now be replaced in new Mass celebrations by eloquent and profound EF collects.”

    Well for new saints and such I can see the advantage. I’m not a fan of replacing the ancient pericopes, especially with their link to such a long and profound homiletic tradition. Are the OF collects banal and shallow in the original Latin? Certainly not as much as they are in English.

  18. Samuel Howard: You raise a couple of good points here.

    First, both some of the new saints and some of the new prefaces could well be incorporated in EF usage; indeed, many of the collects for the more recently added saints’ Masses seem more eloquent and weighty than the original OF collects dating from the first edition of the OF Missale Romanum. Actually, most of the approximately 80 OF prefaces are reasonably elegant in Latin, and only sound so mundane in their original ICEL English translations. In particular, it does not appear to me that the OF Latin prefaces have been systematically watered down as the OF Latin collects were.

    The PCED has already said that the new OF prefaces can be used in the EF, and indeed a dozen or so of them are included in the new EF missalettes recently published by Ignatius Press.

    Second, regarding the banality and shallowness of many OF collects, several authors (including Father Z) have documented the fact that many of them are doctrinally thinner even in their Latin originals (as compared with corresponding EF collects). But a great deal of the banality of the language we hear at Mass came with the original ICEL translations. When we are finally able to hear the recent new English translations, the banality will have been repaired, and it appears to me that many (if not most) of these collects will also sound doctrinally more sound.

  19. William says:

    Father,
    Please clarify about the sign because in your blog of 23 October you included your Wanderer piece regarding your visit to the Shrine in which you state: “This week I visited Mount Saint Mary’s Seminary in Emmitsburg, MD and found a rector, faculty and many seminarians not only without bitterness or baggage, but with minds and hearts open to the older form of Mass. Provisions have been made for seminarians to learn the older Mass. I was told that the frequency of its celebration there will be expanded as well. What was so refreshing is that they are looking at it as just a normal part of a proper formation for a seminarian of the Roman Rite. Without taking anything away from the rest of their formation, they have calmly added this enriching component.”

  20. Peter Karl T. Perkins says:

    This exactly proves what I claimed before. If a priest (e.g. a retired priest) in good standing requests the use of a church to celebrate the 1962 Mass, this permission must be given within reason (e.g. if the church is not being used for some other purpose and reasonable notice is given, &c.).

    Should priest (e.g. a curate or vicar or retired priest) in good standing be barred from using a church for this purpose, whether legitimately (e.g the church was locked and there was nobody to let him in) or not, he may celebrate the same Mass outside a sacred place at a fitting place and on a table with an Altar cloth and corporal (cf. Canon 932.2).

    Yet again, I rest my case. Retired priests in good standing, and other priests who are not parish priests, have a liberty to celebrate the old Mass under S.P. Of course, I agree with Fr. Z. that, in order to make use of a parish church for this purpose, the request must be reasonable and lodged in a timely manner, and so forth. But even if the parish priest refuses use of the church for a *legitimate* reason, the requesting priest can repair to a fitting place outside a sacred place to celebrate a Mass ‘sine populo’ but with invited guests. Faithful who attend there on a Sunday under those conditions fulfil their obligation. Why is this so? It is because S.P. establishes for all priests a general right to celebrate the 1962 Mass. This right is restricted by the number of Masses they may celebrate per day and by duties to celebrate New Mass in accordance with need; but it is not restricted by the mere whim of parish priests or bishops.

    Let the 1962 Mass be offered widely and generously and in a spirit of true caritas, for the living and the dead. [Amen.] It is not an evil to be restricted but a treasure to be cherished. “Summorum Pontificum” recognises this.

    Peter Karl T. Perkins

  21. dcs says:

    Please clarify about the sign because in your blog of 23 October you included your Wanderer piece regarding your visit to the Shrine in which you state

    Mount St. Mary’s Seminary is distinct from the National Shrine of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton – Fr. Z. celebrated Mass at the former and saw the sign at the latter.

  22. Jason Petty says:

    Third, notice that the second response refers not only to the regulation of the use of the older form by pastors of churches, but also rectors. It is not stated explicitly in Summorum Pontificum that rectors also have this right, though it is reasonable to assume they do.

    It is in Art 5.5: “In churches that are not parish or conventual churches, it is the duty of the Rector of the church to grant the above permission.”

    I’m looking at cc. 556-63, and wondering if there’s a difference for rectors of cathedrals? We’ve had some issues with this here in our diocese re SP, and it would seem that the rector’s right to swing his fist around ends wherever the bishop decides to stick his nose. Am I right?